Governor N.N. Vohra has approved draft Road Safety Policy of the State. To elicit the views and comments from the road users and the people at large, the Governor has directed B.R Sharma, Chief Secretary to put the draft Road Safety Policy in the public domain through the print and electronic media, by 10th February, 2016. The last date to receive comments and views from various stakeholders and people will be 29th February, 2016. The Governor has further directed that all the views and suggestions received should be critically examined by the Transport Department and put up to him through the Advisor. The salient features of the Policy include: Centre of Excellence to be established across the State to create capacity in road safety research, raising awareness among key decision makers, stakeholders and NGOs to facilitate them in planning and promoting road safety, implementation of road safety initiatives; creating a network of Trauma Health Care facilities on National Highways and State Highways; dedicated funding for road safety initiatives and prevention of road accident fatalities; establishment of safe transport infrastructure and stringent enforcement of traffic laws and regulations. The Raj Bhavan Spokesperson stated that the Governor had expressed regret over the failure to take timely action within the clear timeframe which he had fixed for the implementation of Road Safety Action Plan after discussions in a high level meeting held in the Civil Secretariat on 14th February 2015, during the period of Governor’s Rule a year ago, before the installation of the PDP-BJP Government. The Governor has also directed both the Divisional Commissioners to ensure that meetings of the District Road Safety Committees are held on monthly basis till such time as the implementation of the Road Safety Plan gets well established. The Deputy Commissioners will launch an urgent campaign to remove all encroachments along all the highways and ensure that the provisions of Ribbon Development Act are stringently enforced. The Governor has also reiterated his earlier direction that, with immediate effect, it will be mandatory for all new road projects to be necessarily vetted by the Design Directorate so as to ensure that the road safety features are duly incorporated in the road architecture. He also directed that, side by side, the Safety Audit of the existing roads should be carried out in a time bound manner. Further, every enforcement agency should sternly deal with all cases of overloading and other traffic violations and no unfit vehicle should be allowed to ply on the roads under any circumstances. The Governor has also re-iterated his earlier directions regarding (i) well considered proposals for setting up Specialized Certification and Inspection Centres and Driving Schools in J&K to be furnished to the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways; (ii) all the Trauma Care Centres and the Critical Care Ambulances to be made fully operational; (iii) immediate steps being taken for the application of Information Technology by Secretary, Transport Department to minimise human interface and reduce scope for corruption; (iv) operationalisation of online services including online applications, registrations and payments for various services; (v) Implementation of Road Accident Data Management System and GPS Tracking and Analysis shall be implemented in all public service vehicles. Laying special emphasis on active involvement of all stakeholders in creating awareness about Road Safety, the Governor has directed that campaigns for advancing awareness about Road Safety should be conducted every month by involving NCC, NSS, Home Guards, Scouts & Guides and volunteers from all possible sectors. He emphasized the need for special attention being paid to facilitate pedestrians and, for this purpose, foot-paths should be cleared of all encroachments, adequate number of Zebra Crossings and under passes and over bridges built on all major roads and highways. The Governor particularly urged the DGP and IGP Traffic to enforce stringent measures to check overloading of transport vehicles, check over speeding and carry out a complete verification of all those who drive buses and trucks on the accident prone roads to particularly assess whether they are trained to ply vehicles in the hilly areas. The Governor will be shortly holding a meeting to review all outstanding issues with the Advisors, Chief Secretary and all concerned officers in Home, Police, Transport and Traffic departments.
2015 Kashmir Despatch